If you are looking for a good escape that can also feed your spiritual hunger, biblical fiction could be your answer. Just what is biblical fiction? First, it is speculative fiction that uses Christian themes and incorporates the Christian worldview, however varied that may be. The difference between biblical speculative fiction and general Christian speculative fiction is that the Christian nature of the story is overt. This represents the tension between those who prefer stories that reflect a Christian worldview without explicitly Christian references (such as The Lord of the Rings), and those who prefer the more overt Christian material usually found in the works of G. K. Chesterton and C.S. Lewis.
Three main categories exist within the biblical fiction genre:
- The story is set with actual people, places, or events from the Bible
- The story is set in a different time period but base the characters or events from scripture
- The story is set within an era of history from the Bible, but the characters are not actual Bible people
Here are a few excellent titles and a little about them. Dive in and enjoy your escape!
The Red Tent by Anita Diamant. In the Bible, Her name is Dinah and her life is only hinted at within the more familiar chapters of the Book of Genesis that tell of her father, Jacob, and his twelve sons. Told in Dinah’s voice, the story imagines the traditions and turmoils of ancient womanhood—the world of the red tent.
The Scroll by Miriam Feinberg Vamosh. A sensational but little known archaeological find– the divorce document of a woman named Miriam issued at the desert fortress of Masada–is the basis for this story about a fateful decision by Miriam, a strong-willed survivor on Masada’s final, horrific day. The tale spans three generations of her descendants.
Return to Me by Lynn Austin. After years of watching his children and grandchildren wander from their faith, Iddo’s prayers are answered: King Cyrus is allowing God’s chosen people to return to Jerusalem. Jubilant, he joyfully prepares for their departure, only to learn that his family, grown comfortable in the pagan culture of Babylon, wants to remain.
The Robe by Lloyd Douglas. A Roman soldier, Marcellus, wins Christ’s robe as a gambling prize. He then sets forth on a quest to find the truth about the Nazarene’s robe-a quest that reaches to the very roots and heart of Christianity and is set against the vividly limned background of ancient Rome.
Iscariot By Tosca Lee. History has called him many things: Thief. Liar. Traitor. Reviled throughout history and infamous for his suicide, he is the man whose very name is synonymous with betrayal. And he is the only disciple that Jesus called “friend.”
The Source by James Michener. Through the discoveries of modern archaeologists excavating the site of Tell Makor, Michener vividly re-creates life in an ancient city and traces the profound history of the Jewish people—from the persecution of the early Hebrews, the rise of Christianity, and the Crusades to the founding of Israel and the modern conflict in the Middle East.
The Wayward Son by Tom Pollack. A powerful tremor unearths an ancient secret. Buried near Italy’s Mt. Vesuvius is a fortified observatory containing artifacts dating to the earliest record of human events. Only one person—the Getty Museum’s Amanda James—can unlock the mysterious doors that guard the chamber.
The Lost Letters of Pergamum by Ben Witherington III. Antipas, a Roman civic leader who has encountered the writings of the biblical author Luke, sparks Antipas’s interest, and they begin corresponding. As Antipas tells Luke of his reactions to the writing and of his meetings with local Christians, it becomes evident that he is changing his mind about them and Jesus.
The Scroll: A Novel by Grant Jeffery. Dr. David Chambers, leading archeologist, has spent his professional career uncovering the facts in the artifacts. His work sets the standard for biblical research in the Holy Land. But surrounded by the evidence, David has sunk into an abyss of doubt. A painful experience with a seemingly unresponsive God has left him without hope.
Cheri Cowell is a graduate of Asbury Theological Seminary and her latest book is 365 Devotions for Peace. To learn more about Cheri and her other books visit her website www.CheriCowell.com.